Professor Barclay joined Imperial College in May 2007, moving with her research group from the University of Reading where she had previously been based since 1995. Professor Barclay had graduated in Natural Sciences from Cambridge University and had undertaken her PhD at the Common Cold Unit, Salisbury under joint supervision of Dr David Tyrrell and Dr Fred Brown, studying the human immune response to rhinovirus. She acquired molecular virology skills as a postdoctoral fellow first in the laboratories of Professor Jeff Almond at Reading, and then working with Dr Peter Palese at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine, New York.
Professor Barclay’s expertise is in the field of respiratory viruses, in particular influenza virus. Her studies aim to understand the molecular and cellular basis of the pathogenesis, host range restrictions and transmissibility of influenza viruses. The approach includes the generation of recombinant viruses with defined mutations. This strategy has contributed to the production of novel influenza pandemic vaccines. In principle the work employs the most appropriate virus strains and relevant cell or animal models. Primary influenza clinical strains are obtained through a long standing collaboration with the Health Protection Agency, and viruses are studied on primary human airway cells and in ferrets. Translational aspects include analysing mode of action and resistance mechanisms of antiviral compounds, and characterization of novel cell substrates and attenuated virus backbones for influenza vaccines. The laboratory is funded by MRC, BBSRC, the Wellcome Trust and commercial bodies.